LAS VEGAS, NV (KAIT) - A Jonesboro couple is thankful to not have arrived sooner in Las Vegas. Bridgette and Greg Arnold had no idea what was happening as their driver brought them to their hotel. The first shots had already been fired at the country music festival.
"All of these police cars just go down past us and on to the Mandalay Bay, towards the airport," Bridgette Arnold said. "One after the other! Unmarked police cars with lights on them. There were so many that our driver said, 'This is not normal.'"
Arnold spoke to Region 8 News Skype from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel where she and her husband are staying. There they had a clear vantage view of where the shooter took aim.
"We can see the shooter's broken out window to his room," Arnold said.
It's about half a mile from the concert venue.
"He was at a distance," Arnold said. "That's how he was able to kill so many people. You did not know where he was. He was 800 feet away!"
The Arnolds traveled to Las Vegas for a wedding and floral convention. Bridgette Arnold is the owner of Posey Peddler in Jonesboro. She said the scene on the strip became surreal after the shooting.
"The waiter came up and told us there had been a shooting at the Mandalay Bay and said we should not go outside," Arnold recounted.
She and her husband stayed in the hotel restaurant as the crime scene outside began to grow.
"You could see from the window of the bar all the police officers. That's when we got an idea that something bad was happening," Arnold said. "That's when we went back to our room and turned on the TV."
Initial reports mentioned two fatalities, then 20. The number of the dead began to grow beyond anything Bridgette, nor her husband could imagine.
"It just kept escalating, that's how bad it was," Bridgette said.
She explained that by the light of dawn people began lining up to give blood and signs on the strip reflected the urgency of the situation.
"Right on the New York, New York marquee is a call for prayer for victims and blood donations, instead of come gamble with us," Arnold said. "And on the MGM, it focuses on helping locate the missing and injured loved ones. So, it's a different vibe in Las Vegas. It's very, very sad."
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